I hear it all the time: If the Vatican truly wanted to follow Christ, it would melt down all its gold and give all the money to the poor.
What’s funny is that many who say this to me (other than the anonymous people online) often tend to be rich themselves. But of course, they’re not wanting to feed the world anytime soon and wish to lay all that responsibility on the Vatican who happen also be the biggest charitable organisation in the world.
It’s not just the Vatican who gets it, the Orthodox Church receive their fair share of requests to dump their apparent riches also. It’s one of the reasons why communism suppressed the church because they thought it was taking all the money for itself.
You always hear me say that for 2000 years (and prior to this) humans haven’t changed. We are like a nasty parrot coughing up the same old heresies and stupid questions for centuries.
Where exactly then, have we heard the classic “sell that and give it to the poor” before? None other than Judas the traitor of course. When Mary Magdalene came with really expensive fragrant oil to wipe on the feet of Jesus Judas lamented and thought it was a waste and it should have been sold for money.
Not only by his words did he insult Jesus but he wanted the money for himself as he was a thief. Whilst all that is true, There is something the apostles didn’t include which is Judas form of thought.
The unspiritual world thinks like Judas and Judas is a representative of the thought of the unspiritual world. As far as his thievery goes, many organisations today are like Judas. “How can I feed the poor and at the same time, keep some of that for myself”.
Some CEOs of these organisations earn enormous salaries and all off the backs of people who donate. Judas is still alive and kicking today my friends. Had he of had his way, He’d sell that bottle of oil and say “100 denarii for the poor and…. 200 for me”.
The unspiritual mind in whose heart God is absent, will always see the art, architecture and big cathedrals as something that is a waste of money and would be better served given to the poor. This is because they view physical bodily comfort to be more important and above love for Jesus. But Jesus knows there is a greater hunger to be satisfied as Satan presented this quick fix argument before in the temptations of the desert when he asked Jesus to turn stone to bread.
The Vatican and Orthodox East hold treasures that were built by the whole Christian communities and they represent our desire to glorify Christ. The entire Vatican is like that expensive bottle of fragrant oil that we anoint Jesus with. Many want to cash in on it but exists for Christ alone.
We will always have the poor. Even if we were to give in and sell the Vatican, the world would still be hungry. That’s not to discourage people from giving to the poor but we can only ever alleviate poverty in this life. No amount of money or political thought ( communism and socialism ) will ever eliminate it.
Therefore Christians need only to be concerned with satisfying the eternal hunger as selling your bottle of fragrant oil or pawning your gold ring will only buy you more time on this earth, not eternity.